Friday, 1 August 2014

Local Tribe People in Chiang Mai

As part of the package we bought at Maetang Elephant Park, it included not only questionable experiences with elephants, but a bamboo raft ride, a cow ride and the chance to interact, meet and buy things from local tribe people. This post is focused on the Karen tribe, otherwise known as the 'long neck people'. They get their name due to the numerous metal rings that are twisted to elongate their necks. In their culture, having long necks with golden spirals of metal enhances their beauty and is aesthetically pleasing. They never take it off, as it's really tedious and difficult to do so. I read somewhere that the brass coils pushes down the collarbone and the numerous coils creates an illusion of a really long neck. The brass coils are so heavy! There were samples that we could hold and try on, we didn't actually coil it around our necks, the samples were only the front half that was attached to strings, so we could tie it around our necks. These people live in wooden handmade huts with no electricity whatsoever. We peeked in to the living quarters of a hut and it was so dark inside!

A lot of these tribes people sell handmade scarves and accessories. You can also witness them painstakingly and intricately weaving scarves! I thought the handiwork was so amazing! There are also typical Thailand pants available for purchase for 150 Baht (only five dollars!). These people, although they couldn't speak much English were so kind. We chatted with this lady who was weaving scarves and she was the most interesting and amusing person. We witnessed her weaving and she also pulled out a handmade guitar and handmade violin resembling string instrument and played for us. This part of the Thailand trip was so memorable because we had the chance to interact with culturally diverse and interesting people while having a laugh.

This wasn't her hat, our friend decided to switch head pieces with her and she loved it!